Built-In Obsolescence Drives Technology Economy

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Written By Gholam Rahmani

The idea seems so simple – the screen on your notebook has broken and you can buy a replacement for a fraction of the price of a new machine.

How difficult can changing a piece of broken glass be?

Anyone that’s attempted the task will know it’s an absolute nightmare as manufacturers have made the job as difficult as possible to make sure you pay their outrageous prices for repairs.

Getting the glass is quite simple. Several parts suppliers have authentic screens or just as good components from China.

So the replacement glass arrives.

Now the problems start.

What is a pentalobe screw?

Ever heard of pentalobe screws?

Probably not and you probably have not got a pentalobe screwdriver that’s the right seize to remove those holding the screen to the laptop.

If you can find the right screwdriver and gain access to the innards of your laptop, you now have to solve the riddle of how to remove and replace the broken part while plugging and reconnecting wiring for microphones and webcams.

And all that without the help of a manual as computer manufacturers do not supply detailed guides for repairs and maintenance.

The term is built in obsolescence or the sneaky ways technology firms keep you buying new versions of the same equipment you have already got that still works quite well.

Why old devices can’t handle updates

Every questioned why the latest update for your phone is too large for your older version of the iPhone to handle?

Apple introduced pentalobe screws as a way of keeping DIY fixers out of their hardware.

The aim is to make maintenance so difficult that customers give up trying or come back to the maker to have the work done under one of their expensive repair plans.

Fixing your own stuff is almost an unheard concept these days.

Some YouTube dinosaurs post video step-by-step guides – but just look at the complications involved in repairing a common Mac problem with burned out power supply units.

If you are a Mac laptop, phone or tablet user, then the web site iFixit can help you save money on repairs – other than that you are pretty much on your own…especially if you are a Lenovo user.

Of course, technology manufacturers deny they design features to make users upgrade perfectly good devices at regular intervals, but if they didn’t, they would lose hundreds of millions of pounds of sales.